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Do college acceptances correlate to one's ability to pay full fare?

thurpamthurpam 8 replies1 threads New Member
My daughter was waitlisted at Wesleyan in the ED round. We were asking for a lot of financial aid. I have heard that schools like Bates and Wesleyan are looking for students who can pay full fare.

I read this recently in an article entitled, "The Three Biggest Lies in College Admission"
"Today, more and more college admission officers want – and need – to know whether the kid can pay full-freight. And if there is a choice between two virtually-identical applicants – one who needs financial aid and one who doesn’t – the fat envelope is going to go to the kid who can pay full tuition. Some very good schools – such as Wesleyan – are coming forward and admitting that they can’t afford to be 100% need-blind. “More than a handful of schools are not being honest however,” states Muska. “So kudos to them. Families need this transparency from colleges.”

I have also heard that an "unhooked" student has a much stronger chance of getting off a waitlist or being accepted is if they can pay full fare. Can anyone comment on this?
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Replies to: Do college acceptances correlate to one's ability to pay full fare?

  • vonlostvonlost 19263 replies15808 threads Super Moderator
    Paying full fare helps some applicants at need-aware schools. Beyond that it’s hard to generalize.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13419 replies31 threads Senior Member
    edited February 17
    Here are a bunch of schools:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Need-blind_admission

    Some are need-blind. Some are not. Some meet full-need. Some do not.

    You definitely can assume that schools that are not need-blind . . . are not need-blind.

    It's possible that some of the schools that say they are need-blind actually aren't. Most likely the schools that are rich (have huge per capita endowments) are.
    Google "per capita endowment ranking"
    edited February 17
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 2100 replies33 threads Senior Member
    edited February 17
    My personal opinion is that colleges know the demographics of high schools whether or not they are need blind or not. At the end of the day, colleges are big business and they need to make sure that they don’t accept a class of 100% full financial need based freshman.

    I’m most cases, being full pay is a positive for the colleges. For example, full pay close friend of D’s was given spring admit At BU with less than stellar grades and test scores. I’m pretty sure her full pay status got her an acceptance.
    edited February 17
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35352 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited February 17
    An article titled "3 lies" gives a mighty big hint of its slant. And no hint of any accuracy. Anyone can cut and paste bits of detail in innumerable ways, depending what "perspective" they're selling. (Little better than clickbait.)

    Wes dropped Need Blind in 2012, so we've had 7 years to get used to that idea. At the time, they released plenty of info explaining why and how their version of NB works. I'd bet a good Google search would bring up enough background. (Different colleges apply it differently, at different stages, whatever. Diversity, including socioeconomic, remains very important to top colleges. But all this background can be found elsewhere.)
    edited February 17
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  • merc81merc81 11627 replies198 threads Senior Member
    edited February 17
    For an additional perspective, the New York Times recently covered this topic:
    But there is another admissions edge at many prestigious private colleges and universities that isn’t readily apparent . . . . You may tilt the scales in your favor if you can pay for tuition, room and board . . . without needing financial aid. Schools don’t talk about this much. It’s not a great look, at least at first glance . . . .

    Still, savvy guidance counselors and private consultants know all about this advantage, one that is available at most private schools across the country, including selective institutions. Among the schools that have such policies: American University, Bates, Boston University, Brandeis, Carleton, Case Western, Colgate, Colorado College, George Washington, Haverford, Macalester, Mount Holyoke, Northeastern, Oberlin, Pitzer, Reed, Skidmore, Smith, Tufts, Wesleyan and Washington University.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/your-money/college-admissions-wealth.html
    edited February 17
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13419 replies31 threads Senior Member
    @socaldad2002, if you looked on the Wiki link, BU is not need-blind.

    Different schools have different fin aid and admissions policies.
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  • jym626jym626 57340 replies3007 threads Senior Member
    edited February 17
    And for many schools, if you are waitlisted and there is movement on their waitlist, being full pay will likely be an advantage.
    edited February 17
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24488 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Why would a school pretend to be need blind if it isn't? There is no advantage. If a school doesn't want to be need blind (like Wes) then they just tell the applicants that they do consider need.

    Many schools that are need blind for most applicants are need award for internationals or from the wait list. They are open about that too.

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  • merc81merc81 11627 replies198 threads Senior Member
    edited February 18
    If a school doesn't want to be need blind . . . then they just tell the applicants that they do consider need.

    However, colleges' policies may not always be obvious:
    Plenty of schools don’t mention their need-aware status anywhere on their websites, even though this is one of the first questions many families would ask. Bates, for example, calls itself need-aware on a page for international students, but the pages with frequently asked questions about financial aid and admissions don’t address whether this applies to domestic applicants. I asked — repeatedly — for an answer. I didn’t get one.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/15/your-money/college-admissions-wealth.html
    edited February 18
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  • brantlybrantly 4228 replies75 threads Senior Member
    Wesleyan is a need-aware college. So, yes, your big financial need is considered. But there's no way to know if that was the reason for her deferral.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6926 replies121 threads Super Moderator
    Frankly, this has always been the case at most schools that cover 100% of need. Only a few schools both cover 100% and have need blind admissions, and those schools that do pretty much shout it from the rooftops.

    The policy followed by schools like Wesleyan and Bates can be described as partially need aware (or you could say partially need blind). The class is primarily composed need blind, but when the FA is expected to be close to running out it switches to need aware. That means if the applicant is in, for instance, the top 80% of the admitted class whether they can pay or not won't make a difference. It's only in that last 20% (or whatever the cutoff is for the particular school) where full pay students or those with minimal need have an advantage.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6926 replies121 threads Super Moderator
    The Forbes article the OP read was from 2012 and contains some inaccuracies. For instance the author claims that
    Unfortunately, for athletes applying to NESCAC (“Little Ivy” schools like Williams, Amherst, and Middlebury) and Patriot league schools, that option doesn’t really exist. The athletic scholarship rules of those conferences require the colleges to report test scores.

    For one thing, the NESCACs don't offer athletic scholarships. A number are fully test optional, including for athletes.

    The NESCAC site specifies,
    Standardized Tests
    NESCAC member colleges vary in terms of which standardized tests, if any, are required of applicants, and how the results are evaluated. It is important to understand and fulfill the specific requirements of each NESCAC school to which you apply.

    The author writes,
    Some very good schools – such as Wesleyan – are coming forward and admitting that they can’t afford to be 100% need-blind.
    Around this time Wesleyan switched from a need blind policy back to partially need aware. They were open about the change.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 4737 replies59 threads Senior Member
    edited February 18
    This is the sort of thing you get to grips with when shoring up the list of schools to apply to. It needs to not be a surprise in senior year.
    edited February 18
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2859 replies5 threads Senior Member
    "They are open about that too."

    How is Wesleyan open about it now, after the change has been made? It's not on their admission or FA webpages, unless I totally missed it (possibility). Only a google search gets you to a FAQ on the president's webpage, and it's not really obvious what the policy is, just that need blind is no longer being practiced.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35352 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Gets you to more than one faq.

    It's possible OP hadn't heard of need blind vs need aware, so didn't know to look for it.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6926 replies121 threads Super Moderator
    If a school does not specifically state that it’s need blind you have to assume it’s at least partially need aware. If you do a search for “need blind” on Wesleyan’s website a dozen links pop up, including the aforementioned President’s FAQ page, student newspaper stories from when they switched the policy, extensive links to the school’s 2012 need blind policy focus group, the school’s strategic plan and updates, and an accreditation report which states,
    Wesleyan remains committed to meeting the full financial need of admitted students without increasing required student indebtedness. The Admission Office will have to consider the capacity of some students to pay, as is done now with transfer and international students. Current estimates are that about 90% of each class (depending on the level of need) will continue to be admitted on a need-blind basis. Wesleyan expects to build a more generous and sustainable financial aid program over time by raising more funds for the endowment.
    The 2014 update to the strategic plan indicates they were meeting this 90% mark.
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  • Sue22Sue22 6926 replies121 threads Super Moderator
    I don’t blame the OP for not knowing Wesleyan is need aware, at least for 10% of the class. As @vonlost asks, why does it matter? Wesleyan offers excellent financial aid, including a high ratio of grants to loans.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13419 replies31 threads Senior Member
    @vonlost: "Who cares if a school is need blind? NYU is need blind but gives poor financial aid."

    It matters as much as admit rates and hooks matter. People look at admit rates and hooks because they are trying to ascertain their odds of getting in. Need-blindness matters for the same reason.

    BTW, meeting full-need matters for a similar reason. NYU provides poor fin aid to many but provides good fin aid to some.
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  • TigerInWinterTigerInWinter 76 replies0 threads Junior Member
    How is Wesleyan open about it now, after the change has been made? It's not on their admission or FA webpages, unless I totally missed it (possibility). Only a google search gets you to a FAQ on the president's webpage, and it's not really obvious what the policy is, just that need blind is no longer being practiced.

    I agree that the information should be more accessible. That said, when our family toured Wesleyan about 5 years ago, they explicitly acknowledged the policy during the information session we attended. They told us that they didn't take ability to pay into account when assembling 95% of the class, and that an applicant's financial status came into to play only for the final 5% of the class.
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